There’s been some dark days over the last few months. There’s been a few more tears than usual, a few more outbursts of Life’s not fair and why me? And I know that there are many people out there worse off than me, as I bask in the privileged position of having a steady job, living in my own house and enjoying Friday night date nights.
But it’s like two years of Covid just came and bit me in the ass. I recently gave some very serious thought to trying to make it back to Oz. Why not skip over there, I thought, despite everything going on, because it is possible. Of course, for it really to be possible, a lot of aspects of my life had to line up perfectly. And when they didn’t, my world kind of crashed down.
When you’re young you often hear the same kind of advice: ‘these are the best years of your life’, and ‘enjoy it while you still can’, and ‘all this stuff will be trivial when you have to grow up and adult’. I think I had a pretty astute inkling that life was damn good when I was younger. Sure, there were the usual trials and tribulations, and while in the moment they can feel intense and devastating, usually I look back years later and have a good laugh at myself. But overall life has been pretty good. And I did my best to absorb it and live in the moment and count myself lucky. Or maybe I enjoyed myself too much. Because somewhere along the way it seems I didn’t pay attention to the other thing that people always tell you when you’re young: look after your back.
Where I live in Austria it snows in winter. Not just up in the distant mountains, but down on the ground, out in the streets, and along the Autobahn. The first few times it snowed I was in a winter wonderland of magical happiness. I skipped around the streets in my new boots, marvelled at the silence the blanket of snow created and drank hot tea while staring out onto pretty white fields.
And then it snowed again… and again. And then it melted… well, half melted. And that’s when I found out that sometimes snow is a big pain in the ass.